Mir diamond mine: an incredible landscape created by man

Visiting the city of Mir while traveling through Russia is ideal. What to see at the Mir Diamond Mine, here we explain it to you.

Mina de diamantes Mir; paisaje creado por el hombre

MIR Mine Description

In Yakutia, near the city of Mirny, there is the largest diamond quarry in the world in total volume: the Mir Kimberlite pipe (the city of Mirny appeared after the pipe opened and was named in his honor).

The quarry has a depth of 525 meters and a diameter of 1.2 kilometers.

Village of Mirny What is kimberlite?

The formation of a kimberlite pipeline occurs during the eruption of a volcano, when gases come from the earth’s gut through the crust. The shape of said tube resembles a funnel or a glass. A volcanic explosion carries kimberlite from the bowels of the Earth, a rock that sometimes contains diamonds. The breed is named after the city of Kimberley in South Africa, where in 1871 a diamond was found weighing 85 carats (16.7 grams), which caused the diamond fever.

Development history

On June 13, 1955, geologists looking for a kimberlite pipe in Yakutia saw a tall larch, whose roots revealed a landslide. The fox dug a deep hole beneath him. Because of the characteristic bluish color of the earth scattered on the fox, geologists realized that it was kimberlite. A coded radiogram was immediately sent to Moscow: “They lit a pipe of the world, tobacco is excellent.” Shortly after 2800 km. convoys extended out of the way to the opening of the Kimberlite pipe. The working village of Mirny has grown around the diamond deposit, now it is a city with a population of approximately 36 thousand people.

  • The development of the field took place in extremely difficult climatic conditions. To get through the permafrost, he had to explode with dynamite.

In the 1960s, 2 kg were already produced here. Diamonds per year, of which 20% were of gem quality and, after being cut and turned into diamonds, could go to a jewelry room. The remaining 80% of diamonds were used for industrial purposes.

Mira’s rapid development was concerned about the South African company De Beers, which was forced to buy Soviet diamonds to control prices in the world market. De Beers’ management agreed to the arrival of his delegation to Mirny. The leadership of the USSR agreed with this on the condition that Soviet specialists visit diamond quarries in South Africa.

De Beers’ delegation arrived in Moscow in 1976 to fly to Mirny, but South African guests were deliberately detained for endless meetings and banquets in Moscow, so when the delegation finally arrived at Mirny, they only had 20 minutes to inspect the quarry.

However, South African experts were still amazed by what they saw, for example, that the Russians did not use water to process the ore. Although this is understandable: after all, 7 months a year in Mirny there is a negative temperature and, therefore, the use of water is simply impossible.

Between 1957 and 2001, diamonds worth $ 17 billion were mined in the Mir quarry. Over the years, the quarry has expanded so much that the trucks had to drive 8 km along a spiral road. from below to the surface.

The Russian company ALROSA, owner of the Mir quarry, in 2001 stopped extracting the mineral in the open, as this method has become dangerous and ineffective. Scientists have discovered that diamonds are produced at a depth of more than 1 km., And at such depth, not a quarry is suitable for mining, but an underground mine, which, according to the plan, will reach its design capacity of one million tons of ore per year in 2012. In total, the development of the field is planned for another 34 years.

Fun fact: helicopters are strictly forbidden to fly over a quarry, because a huge funnel sucks the plane. The high walls of the quarry are full of danger not only for helicopters: there is a threat of landslides, and one day the quarry can swallow adjacent territories, including urbanized ones.

It is gratifying that most of the company belongs to the state. As of October 2013, the company’s shares belonged to:

  • The Russian Federation represented by the Federal Agency for Property Management – 43.9%;
  • to the Yakutia government: 25% plus 1 share;
  • eight uluses (municipalities) of the republic – 8,0003%;
  • Other legal entities and individuals: 23% (including the Oppenheimer Developing Markets Fund investment fund – 2.2%).

Eco-city instead of a well

Scientists are thinking about the eco-city project in the huge well now empty. The head of the Moscow architecture office, Nikolai Lutomsky, talks about his plans: “The main part of the project is a huge concrete structure, which will become a kind of” cork “for the old quarry and will burst it from the In the upper part of the well they will block a translucent dome in which solar panels will be installed.

The weather in Yakutia is severe, but there are many clear days and the batteries can generate about 200 MW of electricity, which should more than meet the needs of the future city. In addition, you can use the heat of the Earth. In winter, in Mirny, the air is cooled to –60 ° C, but at a depth below 150 meters (that is, below the permafrost) the soil temperature is positive, which increases the energy efficiency of the project.

It is proposed that the city space be divided into three levels: the lower one is for the cultivation of agricultural products (the so-called vertical farm), the middle is a forest park area that cleans the air and the upper one is for permanent residence of people, which has a residential function and serves to accommodate buildings and administrative and socio-cultural structures. The total area of ​​the city will be 3 million square meters, and up to 10,000 people can live here: tourists, assistants and farm workers. “

How to get to the Mir Diamond Mine, contact us for more information.